Heartwood celebrates positive character

BURGETTSTOWN – The annual Heartwood Carnival, Burgettstown Area Elementary School’s end-of-year celebration, will be held May 30 at the First Niagara Pavilion.

This year’s theme is “Yo! Ho! Ho! I Am a Heartwood Kid,” and it was adopted through the school.

The carnival ties into the school’s Heartwood character education program, and, throughout the year, the teachers introduced a series of positive character by reading and discussing stories focusing on individual character traits. Each grade level has its own set of Heartwood books.

In addition, teachers created additional activities in their classrooms and in their grade level wings to reinforce the attributes. As part of encouraging good character, the school sponsored several community service projects. In conjunction with Burgettstown Middle/High School’s Club HOPE, pupils collected food for local food pantries in December. Pupils also collected hats and socks for the needy and made cards for veterans at Christmas and Valentine’s Day.

Pupils earned tickets, which can be redeemed for carnival coins, by exhibiting positive behavior and exemplifying the character traits, which included respect, courage, justice, hope, love, loyalty and honesty. The tickets were distributed by both teachers and support staff.

During the carnival, students and staff have been encouraged to wear pirate gear or the Heartwood T-shirt, which was designed in a school-wide contest. The design drew elements from designs submitted by second-graders Dylan Brown, Geena DeMario, Miranda Schramm and fifth-graders Susan Swoager and Billie Jo Strother.

At the carnival, students will be able to trade coins to go on inflatable rides, for snacks and to visit educational games.

E.L.F. Entertainment will provide several inflatables, including an obstacle course, velcro wall and fun house.

The students may visit the Bingo Hut and giant size Twister mat for free. Bob Hughes created an Intermediate Challenge Center with educational games for third- through fifth-grade pupils, and Heather Shaffer and Patty Ginosky created a Primary Challenge Center for pupils in kindergarten through second grades. Teachers will be operating both centers.

Rainbow the Clown has donated her services and will be making balloon animals. Brenda Inches of Scrapbooking by Inches will be operating a craft-making booth.

More than 6,000 games prizes were either purchased or donated and each child will leave the carnival with a prize, according to school officials.

More than 300 volunteers, including parents, teachers and HOPE Club members, will participate. The Ambulance and Chair Service of Northwest will be monitoring the pavilion.

Local businesses and service organizations making donations include First Niagara Pavilion, R&B Printing, Scrapbooking by Inches and the Burgettstown Kids Center.

The Heartwood committee includes BAEC staffers Cathy Williamson, Heather Shaffer, Patty Ginosky, Brianne Sieg, Robert Hughes, Chris Foster, P.J. Rutledge, Co-chair Amanda Suica, Co-chair Julie Marshall, Chair Michelle Read, Elementary Principal Melissa Mankey, Elementary Assistant Principal Shannon Balch and District Superintendent Deborah Jackson.

The carnival is funded through magazine sales and donations from local businesses.